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wandering off into the bush or desert to lie down and die - all these are not crimes, though many are messy, creating unpleasant problems for those who discover the dead body. An unsuccessful attempt to end one's life is not a crime. Yet, if in the exercise of human compassion, a doctor, nurse, priest or any other person provides the means of suicide, or assists suicide in any way, he or she risks criminal prosecution.

I am an old man, in my 89th year. I live in continual fear that I might suffer an injury which would make me a chronic invalid, that Alzheimer’s disease might take charge of me without awareness, that accelerating debilities of old age might leave me dependent on others, or that loss of memory could rob me of all that I cherish in life. If I can no longer enjoy the haunting beauty of the Flinders Ranges, or experience that feeling of oneness with life, and with the whole of nature, which is mine in the endless desert, I shall not wish to remain alive. As a man of science I know what to do if I am conscious. I have left instructions that in the case of injury or illness I am not to be kept alive unless I can subsequently lead a full and satisfying life alone. I hope that the medical profession, and others who may care for me temporarily, will respect my wishes.

I shall continue to advocate the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia as a fundamental right of every individual.

Mr Speaker, with those words, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Osborne) adjourned.


MR KAINE (10.47): Mr Speaker, I move:

That this Assembly:

(1) views with concern the dual nature of Canberra’s planning system, and believes that the Commonwealth and the ACT Governments should commence negotiations to address problems this system generates; and

(2) in particular urges the two Governments to consider the options for the creation of a single planning authority for the ACT with appropriate input and direction from both Governments.

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